The latest incarnation of Jesse "The Body" Ventura
Jesse Ventura is making the talk show circuit this week, pitching his conspiracy theories to what sounded to me like a more-than-eager-to-accept-what-he's-selling audience.
Applause reigned down on the former pro wrestler/former Minnesota Governor Monday night as he and CNN"s Piers Morgan went at on on elections, gun control, and September 11th.
Ventura cultivated a second career pitching conspiracy theories. He's done documentaries claiming multiple shooters took out JFK. No matter the question, Ventura's answer seems to be the same: government and media aren't to be trusted, Ventura is the brightest bulb in any room and knows more than anyone else.
And the audience applauds.
Conspiracy sells, especially when an event is particularly awful or jarring. Kennedy is the example I grew up with, and a new generation is seeing 9/11 get the same treatment. On the planet where Ventura lives, a lone nut with a bent up rifle couldn't possibly take out a President--it had to be a plot. Crazed terrorists with box cutters couldn't possibly turn passenger jets into missiles targeting America--the fix, says Ventura, had to be in, even to the point where he accuses the government of allowing it to happen. Never mind who gets slandered, accused of negligence, or that such plots collapse under their own weight of complicity and complexity. Bend facts. Twist truth. Make allegations. Then, turn the tables on the interviewer.
You can only hope that folks who hear Ventura listen respectfully and then go out to do their own research--read stuff on both sides before forming an informed, rational opinion. From the sound of things last night on CNN, plenty of people in the studio audience already made up their minds.
Ventura made us laugh when he was "The Body"--a flamboyant pro wrestling bad guy who brought packed arenas to their collective feet. He caught our attention when he won the Minnesota statehouse as a protest candidate swimming against traditional political currents. Now, he's crafted a new persona: the only source of truth and light. Is it just another character, meant to generate chatter and move merch? While some dismiss, others may believe without challenge.
Just when you want to write Ventura off as a crackpot, he says something that, well, has more than a little ring of truth to it.
Evidence that even a broken clock is right twice a day.